Why I like a PLN

I have only just started to develop my own PLN. This has come about through having a device (an iPad) that gives me more seamless access to tools like twitter.

I am finding that through developing a PLN I am being challenged to think more, which I love.

One of the people who I follow is Stephen Downes. This week he got me thinking with the following comment:

The Existential Ed-Tech Pursuit?
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2011/06/the_existential_ed-tech_pursui.html
Ian Quillen, Digital Education, June 30, 2011.
I think people need to understand that this is normal, that this is not going to change, and to roll with it: “Whether or not educators are catching up with technology, they don’t feel like they are… ‘What [the findings] tell me is that because this is such a dynamic world out there, the end point keeps moving out on them,’ Billings said at a Tuesday press briefing across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, site of this year’s annual ISTE conference. ‘The more they do, the more they’re aware of how much more they should be doing.'”

What I think happens is that when a person first embraces a technology, he or she does so as an enthusiast – now this is fine, but being an enthusiast takes a lot of time and effort, and when the technology in question passes out of favour, as they all do, it’s a bit daunting to work up the energy to become an enthusiast again with something new, to catch up with all those people who are already enthusiasts. You have to pick your battles. I was an enthusiast, for example, of Basic, then C, then LPC, then Perl, but not of C++, Java or PhP. I was an enthusiast of LMSs and Learning Objects, then blogging and RSS, and distributed MOOCs, but not of online facilitation, e-portfolios, Second Life, Twitter and Facebook, or competency frameworks. Not everybody can be an enthusiast, much less an expert, in everything. The key is to let go, to find something that works for you now, to embrace that, and to not worry about ‘keeping up’ (because people will be ‘keeping up’ with you!).

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